Fort Bragg paratroopers returning from Afghanistan begin 14-day quarantine amid global coronavirus pandemic

Michael Lozano Image
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Expect some delayed returns from troops, quarantined procedures
Fort Bragg leaders gathered on Friday morning to hold an hour-long online town hall meeting, answering questions from concerned military families.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers began a 14-day quarantine upon their return from Afghanistan amid the global spread of coronavirus, Fort Bragg officials said Saturday.

Fort Bragg leaders gathered Friday morning to hold an hour-long online town hall meeting, answering questions from concerned military families.

Lt. Gen. Michael "Erik" Kurilla, the Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne Corps, emphasized that their objective was to ease the worry of loved ones and report all of the facts on hand.

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"We want to ensure everyone that all levels of leadership on Fort Bragg are working proactively to respond to this threat," Kurilla said.

One big question that was addressed: Will soldiers returning from deployment need to be quarantined?

Kurilla says, based on CDC guidelines and the Department of Defense's orders, anyone in a Level 2 country, like Afghanistan, will be put under a required 14-day quarantine in their home or barracks.

In addition, troops stationed in Level 3 areas, like most of Europe, will remain there for another 60 days, so delays for some returns are expected.

Commander Col. John Melton, with Womack Army Medical Center, says they'll treat any symptoms as if they're COVID-19, but also, initiate other testing to diagnose an individual's symptoms.

At this time, his medical staff continues to undergo rehearsals to prepare if a COVID-19 appeared.

The Medical Center is also monitoring the concentration of cases throughout the region; if more cases were to arise, they might consider implementing the following: greatly restrict hospital visitations and screen patients and staff before they enter the facility.

Melton also encourages DOD civilians and active military members to call your provider or hospital, before deciding to arrive at the location.

Some other questions that were raised included the physical health of the guards checking people into Fort Bragg.

Officials say those men and women in uniform are equipped with the proper protective gear; but they also encourage anyone entering the post to have their IDs readily available and visible, that way those soldiers lessen the number of items they come in contact with.

Other questions raised in the virtual town hall also entailed the fate of schools on post.

Fort Bragg officials say, if schools were to be temporary suspended because of COVID-19 concerns, they encourage parents to make sure their child is registered in the Community Youth Services, so those students can be properly taken care of.

Fort Bragg leaders say they will evaluate major events that take place in the next 60 days and see if they need to be cancelled or pushed to a later date.